Culver City was once the center of the newborn film industry around the start of the twentieth century, and today one of the main things to do in Culver City California is tour the Sony Pictures Studios, the only major television and LA movie studio remaining here. Culver City travel by the studios began with the great Hal Roach, who bought the land from his friend Harry Culver for whom the city was named. The Hal Roach Studios ("Laugh Factory to the World") produced 50 comedies a year, with classic comedians including Laurel and Hardy, Harold Lloyd, Our Gang, The Life of Riley, and Topper. During World War II, the studio was called Fort Roach and was where Ronald Reagan starred in morale boosting training films.
In 1924, Metro Pictures Corporation, Louis B. Mayer Productions, and Goldwyn Studios merged to become the iconic MGM and relocated here. It became one of the major Culver City attractions and industries with its 180 acres of back lots and sound studios. Here, films like Gone with the Wind, Ben-Hur, Mutiny on the Bounty, the Wizard of Oz, and Singin' in the Rain were made. In 1990, the Sony Company of Japan purchased the studios. Today, this LA movie studio is the location of one of the best post-production facilities in the world and is open to the public for tours. Other things to do in Culver City California relating to show business is to attend TV tapings for several shows, including the popular Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.
Some of the Culver City attractions include the city streets themselves, particularly the residential neighborhoods and the revitalized downtown area. The architecture and neighborhoods have hardly changed in decades. A walk around the streets of Culver City will undoubtedly give you a sense of déjà vu if you've ever watched The Wonder Years, Chips, Rules of Engagement, or King of Queens. You also might recognize Veterans Memorial Park from the movie Matchstick Men with Nicholas Cage, Bewitched with Nicole Kidman and Will Farrell, and Fun with Dick and Jane starring Jim Carey. Culver City history was also impacted by the aviation industry. Although Hughes Aircraft was technically located in neighboring Westchester, it had a Culver City mailing address. Howard Hughes' ties to the city were highlighted in the Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Aviator. The newest of the Center Theater Group additions is also located here, the Kirk Douglas Theater, which is set in a historic building and offers first run movie premieres and elite live performances. Other theaters in the groups include the prestigious Ahmanson Theatre and Mark Taper Forum, both located in the downtown area near the Los Angeles Cathedral.
Other things to do in Culver City California include the weekly Farmers Market held every Tuesday and strolling the charming downtown area with its many dining spots. If you're a train enthusiast (or just a big kid at heart), you might want to visit the Allied Model Trains Company, one of the largest stores of its kind in the United States. For some smooth, laid back nightlife, you might want to stop in at the Helms Jazz Bakery, one of the most important venues for cutting edge live jazz in Los Angeles (it is most definitely NOT a bakery!). Historically, this non-profit music venue was located on Helms Avenue, but is currently holding performances in a variety of locations while it searches for a new permanent home, which it hopes to secure sometime in 2010. Conveniently located along two major highways between LAX and Santa Monica, the Culver City attractions are quite accessible.